A month ago, we were hit with an early season snowfall. 14″ of the heaviest snow I have ever seen. It was the weirdest stuff. I clogged my snowblower every couple of minutes. Once someone drove over it, it became like concrete. Snow plows were unable to remove much of the packed down snow as it turned to slush and refroze as ice. We had a couple of brief thaws and refreeze which only made matters worse. Walking on this stuff was treacherous. There were thin sheets of ice, and there were these thick, uneven rutted ridges that would roll your ankle with one misstep.
Running on this stuff was impossible. That storm set my training back about a month
So, I ran on the treadmill, but I could only handle about 5k-10k at a time. I made my way to a local indoor track and ran 15 miles there once (my definition of torture).
I will run outside in the cold, but not on the ice. I injured myself doing that a couple of years ago and I have learned to be cautious. I expect the roads to be bad in January and February. That is usually my off season and I back off of running. I can limit myself to shorter treadmill runs, along with cycling on the trainer, using the elliptical, swimming, and weight training. But winter hit early, and I have one last marathon in 5 weeks. I needed to get 1-2 long runs before the event.
Finally, a prolonged thaw was coming. Temps getting into the high forties and staying above freezing overnight for a few consecutive days. This should finally break the ice pack on my roads. I hoped for a running window on Sunday before winter was scheduled to return on Monday.
As promised, the thaw arrived. Driving around the neighborhood late Saturday, I only spotted a couple of problem spots. I was good to go. By mid morning, the air tempuratue was in the low 40’s. There was thick fog and a light drizzle. There was also no wind at all. The air tempurature was quite nice without a breeze and I ventured out in a long sleeved thermal top and tights and a pair of gloves. Not needing a balaclava or multiple layers is quite a treat this time of year.
As expected, the roads were in great shape. There was only one spot that wasn’t passble and I had to cross the street. There were a couple of icy patches that I simply walked over. I had hoped to get in a twenty miler. I completed 21. The marathon is in 5 weeks. I should be able to do 10-15 miles as my long run somehow next weekend and hope to get one more long run in two weeks before I start to taper. The rain came down hard on Monday, clearing out most of the remaining ice. Then it turn to snow overnight. We got about an inch, and there might be ice beneath the snow. The long range forcast shows no more snow until Christmas, and the sun is coming back. Even though it looks like it will be below freezing, much of the snow should just burn off with the sun. I might be able to complete my long runs before the roads turn bad again. One can hope!
But, even if turns out to be impossible, getting a 21 miler in this week is enough to feel prepared (not ideal, but acceptable). A couple of weeks before Houston, I have the Yeti Challenge scheduled for New Years Day (10k, 5k, 1500 meter in one morning). That will be on a busier road where the pavement should be clear. It will serve as my last longish run before my marathon. All the shorter runs can be done on my treadmill.
But, yesterday’s outdoor run was a blessing. The weather was glorious for this time of year, and it was what I needed to make me enjoy running again!